I love this example of artful augmented protest. It’s artful because it draws on Dancing without Borders, and pop culture, and augmented because it uses YouTube to convey the choreography, which is to say the internet to animate the motion of bodies, and other Web 2.0 technologies to organize the flash mob. Personally, I also love the positivity and humor of the flash mob. My students have impressed upon me the power of YouTube, which I often take for granted, but I would have them understand the complex combinations of technologies, and the augmentation of our very physical presence. No wonder the powers that be want to censor the internet.
Last November 19, a group of over 100 dancers converged on Oakland’s Frank Ogawa Plaza to dance their solidarity with the Occupy movement. Dancing without Borders organized the dance flash mob, which included a mini drama featuring a momentarily tense, then peaceful encounter between a stereotypical white man in a power suit, representing the 1 percent, moved to action first by a young girl and then by an African American man, whom he ends up embracing:
It’s been said that revolutionaries lack a sense of humor, but the dance mob demonstrates the power of joy and light heartedness in the pursuit of positive change.The statement on Dancing without Borders’ website reads: “By celebrating life, community and peace through music, conscious dance, we ignite our light within, inspire each other and renew our spirit as a collective.” Group movement has been a vital part of ritual since prehistoric times; why not revive it during these days?